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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Alleged secessionist plot leader has fighting words for PM Hun Sen

Alleged secessionist plot leader has fighting words for PM Hun Sen

Wanted so-called secessionist plot ringleader Bun Ratha blasted Prime Minister Hun Sen during a radio interview yesterday, dismissing as “fake” allegations the premier has levelled against him, Beehive Radio Station director Mam Sonando and rights worker Chan Soveth.

Ratha, who fled into hiding just before he was targeted during a brutal security forces crackdown on a village in Kratie province that left a 14-year-old girl dead in April, is wanted along with several others for his alleged role in trying to form an autonomous mini-state.

During an interview with Radio Free Asia yesterday, Ratha said anyone who dared to question the government’s real motivation for the crackdown, which he maintains was to forcibly end a land dispute, was being targeted with the same fictitious allegations.

“I would like to deny that I am involved with Chan Soveth. And I think Mr Hun Sen is creating more fake evidence to shut up any official or people who dare to talk about the issue of Pro Ma village, Kampong Damrei commune in Kratie,” he told Radio Free Asia.

Chan Soveth, a senior investigator with the rights group Licadho, has been summonsed to court on the vague charge of “assisting specific perpetrators” that an anonymous court official has told the Post is in relation to his alleged connection to secessionist allegations.

Mam Sonando, who regularly used his radio station to air outspoken criticisms of the government, was arrested and charged in July, also in connection with the plot, which the government claims was led by a group called the Association of Democrats.

Ratha said he had nothing to do with the Association of Democrats and that the prime minister was inventing information to conceal the real reason for the government crackdown on Pro Ma village – corrupt local government officials trying to steal land.

Ministry of Interior
spokesman Khieu Sopheak said Bun Ratha’s allegations were unlikely given the government never acted like that toward its own people.

“What he is saying is only for the purpose of seeking political asylum,” he said.

The Post was unable to contact Bun Ratha for comment yesterday.

To contact the reporter on this story: May Titthara at



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